Machu Picchu, 1975

The way it was in 1975:

…. the night before your visit, you took a bus from Cuzco, noticing in the decline of light that it was getting jungley, that you were going slightly downhill. You got off at Aguas Calientes, I think I was, where there were two hostels. For dinner you ate manioc and tough gray meat (goat? dog?) that you sawed with a dull knife and then chewed endlessly — your jaw ached before you finished.

You got up at 5 a.m. to walk up the road to the site, an elevation gain of 2,000 feet. There were 13 switchbacks, so you felt really fine when the top came into view. Then the tourist bus blew by, covering you with dust.

None of that mattered when you could scramble up to this hilltop and see the whole ruin with no people present.

Almost what Hiram Bingham saw in 1911.

This photo was taken only 64 years later, with Kodachrome. Click on it — there is amazing detail.

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